Kim Tomczak

"The media culture is dominant. We cannot insert ourselves into it easily. It does not fill our free time neutrally. It is ideology. It represents society as static. It is profoundly conservative. It is sexist, heterosexist, racist, classist, and patriarchal propaganda. Representations of those values dominate. Representations of our lives are, most often, invisible. Representations of our values are absent."

- Kim Tomczak and Lisa Steele, from Working the Double Shift, 1984

Internationally renowned artist Kim Tomczak has created works in video, performance, installation and photo-text, collaborating with Lisa Steele since 1983. Together, they present images of the body, disease, aging and death, examining themes of fear, faith and love. Using an understated approach, their work presents an overtly political message, a criticism of social injustice and government's power over individual freedom.

Kim Tomzcak graduated in 1974 from the Vancouver School of Art, now the Emily Carr Institute of Art & Design. He founded Vancouver's Pumps Centre for the Arts before moving to Toronto to explore its arts scene. While working in photography and video, he met Lisa Steele. In 1980, they launched V tape, the first video art distributor in the world.

Tomczak's early collaborative work with Lisa Steele includes See Evil and Private Eyes. Their later work includes Blood Records, written and annotated.

Tomczak teaches in the University of Toronto's Fine Art department. He sits on numerous boards of art galleries and arts organizations. He collaborates on an international level in the restoration of electronic artwork. Tomczak and Steele are recipients of the Governor General's Award for Lifetime Achievement in Visual Arts, the Canada Council's Bell Canada Award for Excellence in Video Art and the Toronto Arts Award.

Photo: Martin Lipman